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The Vauxhall Lotus Carlton is one of the all-time great sleepers

Lotus built its reputation on the “simplify, then add lightness” philosophy. Nevertheless, one of the coolest Lotuses is a big, heavy commuter four-door with wood trim and air conditioning. Infamous for its speed but subtle in its styling, the U.K.’s Vauxhall Lotus Carlton (sold as the Opel Lotus Omega elsewhere Europe) could blow the doors off any other sports sedan in its day, embarrassing even some Porsches and Ferraris. To the casual observer it looks like little more than a luxury sedan with a spoiler and some alloy wheels. It was so fast that some people wanted it outlawed, a suggestion that was debated in Parliament.


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Replies (3)

I spent 20 years in Germany, and I only saw this car ONCE on the road! I'd totally forgotten about it! Wow!

New Driver

Relatively new, yet still old enough to be from an era when subtle performance cars like this M5-shaming Opel were used to outrun the police. Of course the rozzers had an answer: The Ford Sierra Sapphire Cosworth 4x4. Lower top speed, but more grip in the wet.

Pit Crew

When I think of a sleeper, I don't picture a car with a wing, giant 5-spoke wheels and sill extensions. They were certainly fast cars for their time though. 

Intermediate Driver